Thursday, March 28, 2013

.meal planning - the planning, part 2.

*warning: among these next few posts you will see my meal organization.  my type A personality will show.  it might be seen more as OCD.  it might freak you out.  sorry in advance.

Yesterday was more of an invite then how I actually make my meal plans, but Wildtree is a huge factor in how I make my meal schedule.  I also wanted to invite you all to my party so that was the intro.  Today onto actually making my meal plans.  

To keep organized I have a meal binder.  I like to plan out my meals somewhat in routine so we have a variety of foods each week.  Typically I follow the schedule below:

Mondays are our soup nights during the fall and winter, in the spring and summer I will change this to be some sort of salad night.  Tuesdays are our Ethnic food night, which can be either Mexican  Chinese, Ethiopian or some other cuisine that fits - most of the time it is Mexican as all our kids love tacos!  Wednesdays are my busy days so we have a need for easy, easy, easy. This consists of hot dogs, pizza, or spaghetti, it is usually something that I can whip up fast and is kid friendly.  The rest are self explanatory - I hope.

In my binder I list the weeks like above.  I know Sunday is the start of the week, but it is easier for my brain to keep Saturday and Sunday next to each other in case we are gone for the weekend.  So this is how I list out our meals.

In my binder I layout three weeks on each page.  See picture above.  It helps me to look ahead when I am shopping and stay ahead of schedule, minimizing the stress of planning.  Don't hate me but I sat down one day about a month ago with the kids & cookbooks and we planned out meals until mid-July!  So I actually have many pages planned out right now.  I feel like planning ahead is so helpful and it really makes my days and weeks much simpler.  I can just go to the binder and see what is planned verses having to create something.  If I am not in the mood for whatever is listed I can always switch it - because sometimes you crave something different.

As you learned yesterday I have been to quite a few Wildtree freezer meal parties in the past year.  Once you start you will learn why - they are fun and easy, and the meals taste great!  At each party you get enough spices to make 10 meals, at least that is what they plan for.  The truth is you can stretch those spices into at least 20 meals and sometimes more.  So for each party I have made twenty meals!  These meals go into all the different categories that I have above with the exception of my Wednesday meals - even though they are easy most of the time.

When I list my Wildtree meals, or any other meal prepared ahead of time I highlight that meal.  That way I know it is already made up and I don't need to shop for those items.  

Next to the date I have either a T, L, or A - those represent who gets to help me in the kitchen that night.  We rotate so that the kids do not fight.  When it is their turn they get to be the one helping with both the food preparation and the table set up.  As an incentive they also get to lead our prayers and they get to dish up first.  They LOVE when it is their turn.

If we skip a meal because we ate something different, went somewhere, or had leftovers I just circle the meal.  That way I know it is still in the rotation and we can use it on a different night.  So far I have been planning my meals like this for a couple of months and we only have 3 "extra" meals floating out there to use.  

I also have a notes section at the bottom and there is a lot of room for little notes on the side too.  In case I want to change up the recipe a bit or put down that we should never make it again.  I plan on keeping these notes so that when I plan out the second half of the year I know what we liked and what we didn't.  

Next up is how we do our shopping, with a planed out schedule like this.

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